Malatya Haber Using old garden seed
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Using old garden seed

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By David G. Hallauer

Meadowlark Extension District Agent

Going through some things in the garage the other day, I came some seed packets--the leftovers from last year's garden. Are they trash or not? It depends, but there is a good chance you might be able to use them again with little trouble.

Seed stores best when kept in a cold, dark, dry location. Under these conditions, we should be able to use it as viable seed for about three years with some qualifications. For example, members of the carrot family (carrots, parsnips and parsley) are short-lived and are usually good for only one to two years.

If you are unsure of viability and have plenty of seed, do a little germination test. Place 10 seeds on a paper towel moistened with warm water and cover with a second moistened towel. Roll up the towels and place inside a plastic bag with enough holes for air exchange but not so many that the towels dry quickly. Place the bag in a warm place such as the top of a refrigerator.

Remoisten towels with warm water as needed. After the first week, check for germination. Remove sprouted seed and check again after another week. Add these numbers together to determine the percent germination.

Date: 1/28/2013



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